Aiming a pistol vs. aiming a bow
In Rick McKinney's The Simple Art of Winning, in the section on aiming, he contrasts aiming with a bow to aiming with a pistol.
All top level archers focus on the target and let their aperature or pin line itself up. McKinney claims that when aiming with a pistol, shooters focus most of their attention on the sights and less on the target.
Is McKinney erroneous, or otherwise, why to gun shooters focus on the sights moreso that the target? What's different?
Originally Posted by MEGA JESUS-SAN
It depends on what type of shooting. Target shooting, (that can be anything from an object to punching holes through paper) will use sites, optics, etc when shooting.
Point shooting is a different breed, in that you are using body mechanics to aim your gun versus sight/field of vision. When I mean by body mechanics is simple, point your finger at a target. Congratulations, you are point shooting.
The different uses between the two.
Both ways of shooting is mandated by one thing, time. If you have time to aim, do it. If you don't, point shoot.
Originally Posted by Sifu Rudy Abel
So why the focus on the sights over the target?
It's similar theory, but pistols are for shorter ranges.
The standard advice is to focus on the front sight. This obviously only applies to sighted fire; point shooting is different as Anthony rightly points out.
The shooter is usually taught to keep the front sight in sharp focus; this means that the rear sight and the target will fuzz a bit (or a lot, depending on your vision.)
The reason it's taught this way (and we're going to rely on my expertise here, which is to say, we're going to go skating on thin ice with red-hot skates) is that the front sight is the most important alignment tool for shooting accurately and quickly. Thinking about aligning front and rear sights, the theory goes, forces you to slow down and take time you don't really need to take. Moreover, it's been found that people don't lose the target just because it fuzzes out a bit. You aren't ignoring the target. You aren't really even ignoring the rear sight, although you're paying a LOT less attention to it than to the target or the front sight. Your brain is paying attention to all three; it's your eyes that you're allowing to focus on one over the others.
It's not that different from what you're doing with the bow. The bow doesn't need a rear sight because you have a consistent index for the "rear" of the weapon--at least I assume you do. I probably know less about serious competitive archery than you do handgunning, but I've shot recreationally for a long time. The archer, I was taught, chooses an index for the nock and returns to that index point on every draw. I put the tip of my index finger on the corner of my mouth the same way every time (if ya smile, ya miss :) )
The rear sight on your handgun exists only to give you that kind of index for the rear of the weapon. This is not something you need to do consciously once you've done it awhile. Your brain will handle it for you. There are various sight systems designed to make this faster and simpler, though. You can actually get "ghost ring" sights for handguns now; I haven't used them, but people swear by them. If you've ever seen the "peep hole" sights that target shooters use, or the sights on the M-16/AR15 family of rifles, it's the same idea. Your brain will fade that ring from your sight so you aren't consciously aware of alignment, but if you get a little out of alignment, it will intrude on your consciousness as it gets between your eye and the front sight. You keep that from happening almost without conscious effort at all, leaving you free to concentrate fully on the front sight and the target.
Others swear by "Express Sights," first used by British big-game hunters on dangerous-game rifles. These have rear sights shaped like a shallow "V" rather than the traditional notch. The front sight tends to look like it's settling effortlessly into the bottom of the "V" rather than requiring a bunch of effort to keep it in a notch.
I use "Dot the I" sights on both my fighting handguns, and I like them pretty well, although I'd like to try the express style on my next one. Rather than requiring you to align three dots across, like most standard handgun sights, these let you place a dot on top of a vertical line or two dots on top of each other. For me, this is MUCH faster and more instinctive. The Ashley Outdoors big dot sights have this feature built into an express-style rear sight--best of both worlds.
Get into the debate over point shooting vs. aimed fire at your own peril. It's as bad as any MMA vs TMA or Wing Chun vs. BJJ debate ever was, with both sides often resorting to accusing the other of plotting the death of police officers through willfully inferior training.
Can't be. Archery competitions go as short as 18m, or 9m for the very young kids. Most people shoot the same set up at 18m as they do at 90m.
Originally Posted by mrblackmagic
I recommend something more solid, but that's me.
Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
A solid anchor keeps the bow steady up and down, and string alignment handles left and right. But the focus is still on the target, centering the front sight is an entirely subconcious effort, you're not supposed to pay any attention to it.
Some ideas are better than others.
I also shoot purely recreationally (or for fishing, which is hard around here, not cause there aren't fishes on beaches, but cause too many surfdorks and tourists around), but I believe the quote from my instructor when I was a wee yougin' starting to learn archery was something like:
Originally Posted by Don Gwinn
'no olympic shooter should be using their face as an anchor point'
Of course this wasn't being said to me, but one of the older guys there training very competetively
Yeah, well, I do hillbilly archery. I have it from my father, who had it from his father, who had it from. . . . you get the idea.
So what do you use? At the Cub Scout camp this weekend, they were telling the boys to use their ears. I've heard of people coming back to their eyes. I have to touch my finger to something, or I have no trust that I'm at my index.
Even then, it seems to me that your head would have to be at a consistent angle and position every time.
The ear is too far back, the string will slap their faces.
I come under my chin and slightly to one side. You won't find a more solid anchor, plus it's a little easier to shoot longer distances.
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